Chronic Fantasia, 2015
These two-dimensional and sculptural works on paper employ non-traditional printmaking methods and are composed of digitally manipulated scans of skin and bed linens, layered hand-drawing, embossing with Braille and other modifications such as cutting and splicing the paper.
Chronic Fantasia embraces the phenomenological and feminist stance of the physical body as the primary maker of experience and identity. The work centers on the powerful influence of chronic illness, aging and disability on self-identity; and the effect that those factors have on the body’s relationship to its physical space, time and society. The initial stimulus for the project was a child's play activity of connecting-the-dots. Children often combat boredom and use surplus nervous energy by doodling on their skin, in their textbooks, even in hymnals. It is a covert activity that is comforting in its subversiveness. The work then evolved into an exploration of game playing and imagination as strategies during seemingly endless interludes of physical idleness required in rehabilitation. Prescientific cultures may have believed making art during illness to be curative. Ellen Dissanayake in Homo Aestheticus: “The scientific era may disengage the equivalency of the activity and any substantive outcome, but it does not eliminate the need ‘to do something’ in extraordinary events, to fill time with art.” Later in her analysis Dissanayake concludes that art made life worth living.